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Jan 29, 2022

Does it seem like a CVS or a Walgreen’s can be found on every street corner? In Indiana for much of the 1900s, the drug store scene was much different, and dominated by two locally-owned rivals.

Hook’s Drug Stores opened its first store in 1900 in Indianapolis in what’s now the Bates-Hendricks neighborhood, then considered part of Fountain Square. Haag Drug began even earlier, with the opening of a pharmacy in 1876 on Massachusetts Avenue in downtown Indy.

The captivating history of these competitors, which included Hook’s becoming the country’s 12th largest drugstore chain, and the two brothers who founded Haag being accused of bootlegging during Prohibition will be the focus of our show. Although both the Haag and Hook’s names had vanished from retailing by the mid-1990s, the legacy of the latter is celebrated at the Hook’s Drug Store Museum at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.

Nelson’s guest will be Indianapolis civic leader David Steele, a board member of the museum. David has crusaded for a historic marker that will be dedicated later this year on the site of the first Hook’s store at South East and Prospect streets.